5 Things I Regret About My University Experience

University means different things to different people – it’s a place of advancement, of learning. It is a snippet of the big bad world. To me, university is a place of freedom and learning. I entered university in 2016, starting my law degree. Now that I’m in my final semester, It feels so surreal. It feels like it was only yesterday I just started, but at the same time it does not. Just a couple years back I was boning my face as I did registration for this unknown school, my dreams of living in a different state while attending Afe Babalola University dashed.

Looking back now, it actually was all for the better. Some times when things don’t go the way we want it’s hard to fathom why until one day we’re hit with the realization that those plans were probably not the best in the long run. If I had gone to Ado-Ekiti, I might not have started my blog, started product photography among other achievements made in Abuja – and I definitely would not have met my current classmates.

That being said, the end of something is a time for some reflection, and there are definitely some things that I would change if I had a chance to travel back in time. I’m writing this for those still in school, perhaps you’re in first or second year and your journey is just beginning – there’s still so many opportunities to take!

Not Working Harder

Unfortunately I fell into the college student trap of waiting until the last hour to start working on assignments and whatnot, no matter how long the deadline was. I wish I could kick the habit to the curb, but it’s something that has followed me since high school and I hate it.

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This last minute problem also applies to upcoming in-class tests. I wish I could kick the habit of procrastination as well as sleep. While some are blessed to sleep whenever they can during the day, I only sleep at night. So basically I can wake up from 5am and usually sleep by 9pm. I never sleep during the day, only in rare cases. I wish I did stuff like all-nighters from second year, chugging coffee and reading ahead instead of last minute stuff.

Actions done during the semester all add up. If you keep reading last minute for tests, you lose out on valuable marks that would have helped in the long run. If I had made out time in the semester to make notes that I’d use for exams, things would be less last minute, but it’s too late now. I tried to make up by attending group studying and that has proved helpful to an extent.

Building Relationships and Friendships

When I entered university I was a lot different to who I am now. It’s funny how so many things I never thought I’d do as, at that time, I’ve actually ended up doing – except alcohol. One thing I used to do was get affected strongly by things. I remember having strong crushes and a bit of conflict with my initial friend circle which really affected me. I had a strong crush on a particular person and it consumed me – whenever we were not on good terms, It was like I was thrown into chaos – it kind of affected my very first exams.

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If you told the 2016 me that eventually we wouldn’t even be in the same class or speak that much, I would not have believed it. While I didn’t know what university had in store for me, I did think or hope that I’d end up with this person. Today, everything is a completely different story. When I started schooling, I had 3 people I’d call my friendship circle. I thought we’d continue until school ended. Today, one has basically dropped out and I last spoke to them in 2018, the other 2 are still there but we’re not in the same class and we don’t talk much. Crushes can be a drag – it’s an experience I never want to have again. I don’t want anybody having that power or influence over me again.

Not Glamming Up

There aren’t much photos of me from my university life, and I hate it. I usually shied away from the camera, and if I could go back in time I’d take more pictures. More importantly, I’d pay more attention to my appearance. I’ve come to accept that I’m kind of a late bloomer when it comes to certain aspects about physical appearances and dressing up. In a way, I’ve changed things up quite a bit. For one, when I started university I strictly did box braids, wore a knee-length skirt and recycled about 3 different tops. I also did not wear makeup or talk much. Now, I have expanded my wardrobe a bit with a pair of pants, suit jackets and more skirts, then I discovered the magic and beauty of wigs, so I’m a #wiglife member. I even made my own wig and closure in 2018!

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I still cannot for the life of me walk in heels, and I basically stick to the same thing each week – all black. I wish I’d splashed more money on my wardrobe and physical appearance e.g. makeup. Up until now, the thoughts of me strutting into the faculty looking my absolute best are just that – thoughts. It might seem irrelevant, but it would have helped in the way I carried myself. Most times I just looked tired, sad and even frustrated – I am, but that’s another story.

Not Networking More/Inter-Faculty Mingling

Being in the same class as a person gives you more opportunity to build relationships than when you are not. There are a lot of important people at my faculty, and I wish I had summoned up courage to strike up discussions with them. At the same time, I don’t believe in forcing myself on people without some kind of plan. Even if I get this persons’ contact, why am I doing it? Will knowing this person help me achieve my goals?  I like to filter my interactions – but it definitely would have been nice to have a couple ‘connections’.

I do wish I had made friends out of my faculty. The people I know who are from another department used to be law students, so it does not really count. It would be nice to know a Business Admin student, or Engineering, or Environmental Science – see what their minds are like. I think it’s easier to do this when you stay in a hostel.

Going Out of My Comfort Zone

The craziest thing I can say I did was going to a lecture in a subject I was not registered for. Basically, given a choice between Taxation and Public International Law, I went with Taxation as my elective. I popped in about twice to the Public International Law lecture – exhilarating, and weird. I’m not saying do something that jeopardizes your student-life, but try and take part in more stuff! Like that pageant you see flyers for, or student government, or faculty events in general. I lowkey want to attend a lecture in another faculty for once, but fear of getting embarassed keeps me rooted to my beloved Law faculty. Sigh!

Staying Off-Campus

This isn’t a regret per say because it was due to circumstances. My school fees are highly expensive, and hostel accommodation is N500,000. I wanted to at least go to hostel in my final semester but that didn’t really happen. As someone that has never lived on my own – I’ve always been a day student – I wish I had the opportunity to live alongside other females and see what my interactions with other humans would be like. On the flip side, there’s always law school, I guess. It doesn’t make sense to pay N500,000 for accommodation (this amount does not include feeding) when your family lives in the same city, except you’re super rich – which I am not. The closest I got to the experience was sleeping overnight at school during the exam period in my final year first semester. Even at that, I actually slept in the classroom as opposed to the hostels.

That being said, it’s been a nice ride while it lasted. I’m still a bit conflicted about what I feel about formal education and getting degrees – there’s still much I don’t know clearly until now. How many Bachelors degrees can one acquire? Am I really capable of a master’s degree – must I get a Masters? How much more a PhD? Definitely looking forward to getting answers as life goes on.

Are you currently a student or an ex-student? What do you wish you could change about your university experience?

23 thoughts on “5 Things I Regret About My University Experience”

  1. Hey Amaka. Interesting write-up. I’m a recent law graduate too from University of Ibadan, I’ll be going to law school with this April batch. I’ve wondered a bit about the fact that I didn’t network much either, but I’m really just a quiet person at heart.
    I’m curious, 500,000 for hostel accommodation? That must be a private hostel, right?

    1. Yay! Congrats on going to law school – I can imagine all the emotions you must be feeling right now. Yes it’s a private university I attend so everything is expensive and there’s no need to go broke trying to look rich

  2. I went to a University of Lagos and studied estate management. To be honest there’s nothing I want to change about my experience in school. I literally did everything you listed. Well, it’s my nature! I’m an extrovert and I like to explore. I did everything and built a strong network as well. You don’t need to beat yourself up. You still have your final semester to at least mingle. And when you’re done, you can start doing all these in real life. I mean building friendships, glamming up, going outbof your comfort zone etc. doing them after school is even more fun. Trust me I know.

    1. Tonye you’ve always been a social butterfly na. Estate management! What an interesting choice, you’ll need to gist us how that happened. Lol this is my final semester and I have about 2 weeks left which are basically filled with exams and project defense sooo… too late 😩

  3. I could totally relate with a lot of the things you shared… I don’t actually have anything to show for the fact that I went to two universities… In Babcock, I made friends but after I left, that was it… In Houdegbe, I never even bothered. I rarely took pictures, I never attended any department parties. In short, it is hard to even believe that I went to uni.. No pictures of my matriculation or convocation. I wish I had done things a little bit differently honestly…

    I wonder who will be at my wedding 😂😂

    1. Two universities! Alice you’re truly low key lol. I must take picture o, the spirit of shyness has to leave by force abeg. Don’t worry your wedding will be lit, and hey, what’s wrong with a smaller crowd? Less mouths to feed 😆

  4. I can relate to the last minute studying 😭😭. It was a habit I took from my secondary school days . When it was time for tests in uni I used to look for study groups to join 😂😂

    1. Chai it’s such a bad habit to kick off once you get into it! It feels like if you start studying early sef you’ll forget everything, but those last minute stuff stick well well 😆 God help me

  5. I had fun in uni! For my first year, I had a clique and we did everything together. Had mad fun, partied and all. Yet I still aced my exams. But by my third year, I sort of slowed down. Clique had all gotten really busy, we weren’t in the same Dept. So I began to bond with more of my coursemates, move houses to a rather sane environment. Away from my old but hella cute place that was a den of bad boys and girls. I think all these culminated in me becoming more of an introvert during my last days in school. But I enjoyed my uni days. Only thing I wish I could change was my unwillingness to partake in many stage practicals. I ran away from them all, they were body, soul, spirit and time consuming. But then again I don’t really regret because if I had gotten too involved in them, I wouldn’t have had time to study hard and come out top of my class like I did. So I guess all is fair.
    P.s I miss school, I don’t miss the lectures, I just missed reading and writing exams. It’s weird, I know.

    1. Lol can’t imagine a theatre arts student that’s an introvert – you kind of got the best of both worlds! At least you knew what you were there for. It’s not weird at all to miss exams and all – I’m sure you plan on furthering your education

  6. I can relate to these points, except the last one. University wasn’t exactly fun for me but i loved every bit of it, but i wish i made more friends, studied harder( graduated with a point away from first class). I always started reading a week or days to tests and exams. I graduated in 2014 but believe me when i say the ones i can call friends are the 3 i made while in school. Most times, i wonder how many people would attend my wedding, lol( my husband had better have a lot of friends). I had a boyfriend, but i was still in my comfort zone.

    1. One point away from first class would make me so depressed and regretful. I remember how in high school the cut off mark to study law was 90 and I got 87.85. It hurt so bad and I felt like a freaking failure. I’m trying not to get my hopes too high up this time. Having plenty friends is actually overrated – if you get some quality people over quantity there’s nothing wrong with that. And big weddings are overrated 😆 save your money

  7. Actually, your list applies to me too for the most part. But of course, we can’t have those years back. Interesting thing I’m still making some of the same mistakes. Don’t be like me. You still have opportunities to change whatever you wish to.

  8. If I was to go back in time, I’d be more jovial, work harder and attend all classes…. But my lazy ass won’t let me do things early so I was always the last one to submit/do an assignment. I can relate to not taking pictures or learning makeup and looking peng all the time, I do not regret anything though.
    With love from

  9. oh there are definitely things I would change about my uni days. for one, I would study more at the beginning too and make more relationships beyond my social circle, but I am guessing there’s only so much one can do socially, and I did a whole lot. looking at where I am now I am still happy it worked out the way it did. there’s always time to do more or change something… I think.

  10. I have a whole post concerning the things I wish I knew about University so I can totally relate to this post!
    I loveeee sleep, so I know what it can do and how it can mess up plans, still going through it.
    Concerning friends, it’s easier for some than others, so you may have to come out of your shell intentionally. I promise you, it’s worth it. It’s not late at all, I mean you still have Law School and your whole life ahead of you.
    I missed the vivacity of your posts Amaka, so happy to have read this ❤️❤️

  11. Just came across your blog. This is a great post . we all regretted so doing so many things during our university days . some times I wish I never met some people but the truth is that our experience shapes us into what we are today. We learn the lessons from it and grow

  12. Thanks for sharing your experience cecy, current and prospective students can learn a lot here. When I got admission to study zoology, I took a chair outside my house sat quietly and meditatively planned my every move in school. From lectures, friends, food… I followed through everything. It was easy for me to have a fast come back when I fell short on any schedule because I had a plan to start with. Plan guys!

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